Abstract for: Regional Economic Growth and Municipal Financial Planning: An Application of A System Dynamics Model to Calgary

Over the past two decades, Calgary a midwestern Canadian City of approximately 1 million inhabitants has experienced periods of rapid resource-driven economic growth and attendant municipal growing pains interspersed with periods of relative stasis. Effective municipal financial planning in this environment imposes profound challenges, particularly due to the presence of feedbacks, delays, non-linearities. To facilitate improved municipal financial planning, the City of Calgary has constructed the detailed multi-sectoral Calgary Impact Assessment Model (CIAM). CIAM whose structure draws inspiration from previous peer reviewed models includes an articulated representation of population demographics, migration, the labor market, the domestic and commercial property market and taxes thereon, infrastructure, finances, and the budget, recreational land, service levels, and quality of life. CIAM was parameterized using data from City databases and reports. Model construction incorporated a variety of best practices, and underwent a through a rigorous peer review. CIAM was subsequently calibrated to dozens of time series, leading to further model structural refinement and parameter estimation; the resulting model reproduces quite well a wide variety of historical municipal dynamics. CIAM has been used to investigate several scenarios important for municipal financial planning, and offers the potential to serve as an important decision-making tool for future city financial planning.